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20 Years of Hope: Bekah

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In late 2012, LWB was contacted about a toddler girl with a complex set of heart issues. Her orphanage in China had originally hoped she could be adopted and that surgery could be delayed until that time, but her low oxygen levels and repeated bouts of pneumonia let them know that she couldn’t wait any longer.

Girl in hospital bed in China wearing a red top

The orphanage director reached out to Love Without Boundaries, and we were able to arrange for “Elizabeth” (as we called her then) to have surgery through our China Medical Care program. The operation went well, and Elizabeth was discharged to our China Healing Home known as Heartbridge (in partnership with Hope Foster Home, outside of Beijing) to receive post-operative care.

Toddler girl sitting on floor eating watermelon

Unfortunately, fluid began building up in Elizabeth’s lungs, and she had to be urgently admitted to a hospital in Beijing where they drained the fluid from her lungs each day. Elizabeth continued to suffer from medical complications that required additional hospital stays, but there was a lot of love and even laughs as this tiny girl’s extra- large personality emerged.

Even in the hospital, Elizabeth always had a smile on her face and won over all the doctors and nurses by blowing them kisses! She quickly figured out that blowing kisses was a sure-fire way get her favorite snack: watermelon.

The nannies did what they could to slow Elizabeth down so she wouldn’t overwork her heart, but it was hard to keep this feisty girl still. As soon as heads were turned, Elizabeth would be off on her next mission of mischief. What an irresistible little stinker! Can’t you imagine those contagious giggles?

Toddler girl in orange and pink standing and laughing

In the midst of all this fun, Elizabeth was chosen for adoption, and by early December of 2013 it was time for her to join her family. Her mother described their all-too-brief time at home with Bekah:

It only took a week for our entire family to feel like this tiny seventh member had been with us “forever.” She fit right in and didn’t bother to heed any of the warnings we received in adoption training regarding bonding issues. Bekah learned English faster than any of our other children when they were two, cracking jokes and playing tricks on us within a month.

Mom with daughter on her back hiking in the woods

Despite her history of complex congenital heart defects (CHD), she jumped into life with our active family immediately: camping, swimming, playing on the trampoline, and home schooling. She was home three weeks when she memorized the definition of an adverb and promptly named her baby doll “Adverb.” Anyone who met her was drawn by her smile, her endearing (and ear-splitting!) voice, and her silliness. 

We, as her family, were amazed at her resiliency and her ability to understand and reciprocate love. We were also shocked at how much watermelon she could eat!  “Oh, honk you, man!” she would say in thanks.

Every day, multiple times a day, we would tell her that she “is our girl…forever, and ever, and ever…”

“And EVER!!!” she’d respond with a shriek and a cuddle. We are convinced she believed that with all of her spirit.

Little girl with feet in the air laughing

She believed it on August 14, the day we said, “Night-night, have a good sleepin’!” as we kissed her in the operating room.

Bekah never woke up. Over the next three weeks, her once strong and resilient body failed, one system at a time. After a few days, it was clear that she had sustained a severe neurological injury, rendering her unconscious with little hope of recovery. Before surgery, she had been completely normal developmentally. Suddenly, we found ourselves planning a fun run to benefit LWB that we called Bekah’s Watermelon Run that would allow wheelchairs, like the one she sat in as we celebrated her watermelon-themed third birthday.

Slice of watermelon with 3 birthday candles

Sadly, it was not to be — Bekah going home in a wheelchair, that is. On September 6, two days after Bekah’s third birthday, we said, “See you later” to our beautiful treasure. We were able to hold her for the last few peaceful hours of her earthly life and tell her over and over that she is “our girl…forever, and ever, and ever.”

The impact of this one little girl on the world is unbelievable. LWB has received an astounding amount of support and appreciation from all who met, and many who never got the pleasure of meeting, Bekah.

Girl in carseat holding a sip cup and laughing

Bekah’s Watermelon Run has raised more than $240,000 since its beginning in 2015 to fund surgeries and medical care for orphaned and impoverished children around the world, including all the kids seen below.

Collage for 20 Years of Hope Bekah blog

Your support in honor and memory of Bekah will help even more children receive much-needed medical care.

So if you’re in the Denver, Colorado area on September 9th 2023, consider celebrating Bekah and all the other “little Bekahs” cared for by LWB by joining us for Bekah’s Watermelon Run+Walk+Roll! Bring your strollers. Bring your wheelchairs. Bring your strong, healthy legs. You can sign up to participate or make a donation at the link below.

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